A young Pembrokeshire chef’s passion for food has resulted in the AA serving up two of its coveted rosettes to the hotel where he works.
Tom Simmons, head chef at the county's Wolfscastle Country Hotel, has brought the flair and flavours from his time working in restaurants in London and France to deliver a superb dining experience at the renowned establishment.
With two recent seasoned diners ranking his food as amongst the best they had ever tasted, the AA inspector was also treated to a feast on the day they paid an unscheduled visit.
The result was a second rosette for the hotel, with the strong indication that the standard was close to gaining a third.
“Tom is a great talent - very imaginative and forward-thinking,” said hotelier Andrew Stirling. “I’ve been in the hotel trade since I was nine, and you would think there was nothing else you could tell me. But I’m learning something new from Tom every day.”
Although only 26, Tom - originally from Newport, Pembrokeshire - has been a quarter finalist in the BBC’s Professional Masterchef and is amongst the top chefs whose his recipes feature in the book Relish Wales - Second Helping.
“I just love being back in Pembrokeshire - you’re spoilt for choice with the quality of the produce,” he said.
“We didn’t have a clue that the AA inspector was coming and it was only the morning after they had eaten here that we were told.
“We found they had chosen our scallops with 48-hour-cooked pork belly and cauliflower texture and the duo of Welsh beef. They knew exactly what to order.”
Added Andrew: “We’re delighted with the second rosette, and hope it will only be a matter of time before we are awarded our third.”